BROWN IS THE NEW WHITE

HOW THE DEMOGRAPHIC REVOLUTION HAS CREATED A NEW AMERICAN MAJORITY

A passionate discussion of race and politics sure to inspire heated debate and, hopefully, proactive solutions.

An activist treatise on how shifting American demographics are changing the political climate.

In a hard-hitting, peremptory discourse, social justice authority and civil rights attorney Phillips appeals for profound political changes significant enough to match what he claims is an encroaching wave of multiracial progressive voters he dubs the “New American Majority.” With abundant use of solid statistics, the author delivers the news that over the past five decades, the population of American people of color has tripled in growth. He advocates for the ushering in of a new era in which political candidates duly recognize this majority. Phillips cautions that Progressive Party constituents won’t gain political offices without multiracial support and that this particular demographic must be tapped much more aggressively than it currently is. He lucidly presents and supports the math behind the census demographics and further enumerates the varied racial groups who collectively make up this new majority. However, his critical scrutiny of America’s historical preoccupation with what he calls the “White superiority mindset” (and with the Caucasian race in general) undermines his root goal of social equality. He speculates why white politicians have been so ineffective in creating positive social change and critiques the progressive movement’s poor performance in acknowledging and harnessing the voting power of this diverse population. Alongside brilliant commentary on the urgent necessity of cultural competence, the book’s closing chapters offer practical remedies and show how to integrate the strategies of the business world in stemming campaign funding wastefulness and overhauling American public policy. Though overly heavy-handed at times, Phillips’ robust plea for profound political changes is motivating and will invite those new to the discussion to join in the fight for social change and racial equality in America.

A passionate discussion of race and politics sure to inspire heated debate and, hopefully, proactive solutions.

Pub Date: Feb. 2, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-62097-115-4

Page Count: 240

Publisher: The New Press

Review Posted Online: Dec. 5, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2015

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WHEN BREATH BECOMES AIR

A moving meditation on mortality by a gifted writer whose dual perspectives of physician and patient provide a singular...

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A neurosurgeon with a passion for literature tragically finds his perfect subject after his diagnosis of terminal lung cancer.

Writing isn’t brain surgery, but it’s rare when someone adept at the latter is also so accomplished at the former. Searching for meaning and purpose in his life, Kalanithi pursued a doctorate in literature and had felt certain that he wouldn’t enter the field of medicine, in which his father and other members of his family excelled. “But I couldn’t let go of the question,” he writes, after realizing that his goals “didn’t quite fit in an English department.” “Where did biology, morality, literature and philosophy intersect?” So he decided to set aside his doctoral dissertation and belatedly prepare for medical school, which “would allow me a chance to find answers that are not in books, to find a different sort of sublime, to forge relationships with the suffering, and to keep following the question of what makes human life meaningful, even in the face of death and decay.” The author’s empathy undoubtedly made him an exceptional doctor, and the precision of his prose—as well as the moral purpose underscoring it—suggests that he could have written a good book on any subject he chose. Part of what makes this book so essential is the fact that it was written under a death sentence following the diagnosis that upended his life, just as he was preparing to end his residency and attract offers at the top of his profession. Kalanithi learned he might have 10 years to live or perhaps five. Should he return to neurosurgery (he could and did), or should he write (he also did)? Should he and his wife have a baby? They did, eight months before he died, which was less than two years after the original diagnosis. “The fact of death is unsettling,” he understates. “Yet there is no other way to live.”

A moving meditation on mortality by a gifted writer whose dual perspectives of physician and patient provide a singular clarity.

Pub Date: Jan. 19, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-8129-8840-6

Page Count: 248

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2015

GOOD ECONOMICS FOR HARD TIMES

Occasionally wonky but overall a good case for how the dismal science can make the world less—well, dismal.

“Quality of life means more than just consumption”: Two MIT economists urge that a smarter, more politically aware economics be brought to bear on social issues.

It’s no secret, write Banerjee and Duflo (co-authors: Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way To Fight Global Poverty, 2011), that “we seem to have fallen on hard times.” Immigration, trade, inequality, and taxation problems present themselves daily, and they seem to be intractable. Economics can be put to use in figuring out these big-issue questions. Data can be adduced, for example, to answer the question of whether immigration tends to suppress wages. The answer: “There is no evidence low-skilled migration to rich countries drives wage and employment down for the natives.” In fact, it opens up opportunities for those natives by freeing them to look for better work. The problem becomes thornier when it comes to the matter of free trade; as the authors observe, “left-behind people live in left-behind places,” which explains why regional poverty descended on Appalachia when so many manufacturing jobs left for China in the age of globalism, leaving behind not just left-behind people but also people ripe for exploitation by nationalist politicians. The authors add, interestingly, that the same thing occurred in parts of Germany, Spain, and Norway that fell victim to the “China shock.” In what they call a “slightly technical aside,” they build a case for addressing trade issues not with trade wars but with consumption taxes: “It makes no sense to ask agricultural workers to lose their jobs just so steelworkers can keep theirs, which is what tariffs accomplish.” Policymakers might want to consider such counsel, especially when it is coupled with the observation that free trade benefits workers in poor countries but punishes workers in rich ones.

Occasionally wonky but overall a good case for how the dismal science can make the world less—well, dismal.

Pub Date: Nov. 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-61039-950-0

Page Count: 432

Publisher: PublicAffairs

Review Posted Online: Aug. 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2019

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